Good news for the Welsh language this week: Microsoft Translator is now available in Welsh. Microsoft Translator provides a variety of translation tools for individuals and businesses, as well as a machine translation API for developers.
The Welsh version of Microsoft Translator is a joint project between Microsoft and the National Assembly for Wales. It was unveiled to the public during a celebration for International Mother Language Day held last Friday in the Senedd.
In a press release, Assembly Commissioner Rhodri Glyn Thomas explained the significance of the new development:
“This is a great day for the Welsh language. Welsh will now sit proudly in the Microsoft Translator family of languages, which is a significant achievement…Working in partnership with Microsoft has allowed the technology experts and Welsh language users to work together to create an automatic language translation system that will help us to deliver exemplary bilingual services, which is a key commitment for the Assembly Commission.”
Derrick McCourt, the General Manager for the Public Sector at Microsoft UK, commented:
“Language is a key part of a community’s identity – as much for Welsh as for any other language. Microsoft is very proud to be working with the National Assembly for Wales to add the Welsh language to the many others supported by Microsoft Translator. Taking advantage of this cutting-edge technology will help strengthen the vibrancy and cohesiveness of the Welsh-speaking community.”
The new machine translation capabilities will be used to help Welsh Assembly staff translate from Welsh to English, as well as to help workers who wish to hone their Welsh language skills on the job.
Of course, like all machine translation services, it’s far from perfect. Professional translators will still be needed to translate important documents and to proofread, improve and clarify translations produced by Microsoft Translator.